ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP
This week, we have spent some time together diving into the story of Zacchaeus, a man who most of us likely have a difficult time identifying with in a lot of ways. We prefer not to think of ourselves as people hated by those around us, and would rather not look at the ways in which our engagement in the world hurts others. But one of the most beautiful elements of this story is how profoundly Jesus loved Zacchaeus. He did not require his life to be patched up prior to receiving love. He did not even require Zacchaeus to admit that he needed to change before Jesus entered into the hatred and social estrangement that Zacchaeus experienced every day, and met him in his need to be seen and loved. Rather, he loved Zacchaeus and allowed that love to be the catalyst for meaningful change in his life.
But we must not forget, either, that Jesus’ love illuminated some hard realities in Zacchaeus’ life. Jesus’ astonishing relationship with this hated man, a man who oppressed the people around him, allowed him to recognize how out of line his life was with the love Jesus showed him. We too, in the light of the love of Christ, must eventually come to confession.
Situate yourself somewhere comfortable and quiet. Ask for the loving presence of Jesus to surround you. Know that you are fully seen and loved as you are. Now, as you become aware of the presence of God’s all-encompassing love, ask for the wisdom to see areas of brokenness and even oppression in your own life. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you toward something concrete in your life that is out of keeping with the Kingdom. As you feel lead, confess this area of your life. Try praying it out loud, confessing it to a friend or a trusted mentor, or even writing it down. Pray that the love of Jesus will heal this area of your life so that it may full reflect the glory of God.
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.